Daily Office Thoughts, June 8, 2006

June 8, 2006

The Daily OfficeThe Epistle for today is here.

It should be noted also that I've been reading Proper 1 all week and we're on Proper 4, so if I've posted the wrong readings forgive me!  I guess I just turned the page from Pentecost and didn't do my dutiful Episcopalian prayer book calculations.

This reading struck me in light of the conversations in the church and the country right now as one of many examples in the Epistle that discusses the relationship between the law and the resurrection.

I've been struck by how many times I've heard from conservatives that homosexuality is a sin because it is "against the law" of the Bible.  Now that isn't what I believe, but when I question them on that line of thinking I ask why it is such a "bigger sin" then, say, wearing polyester, as Leviticus clearly prohibits.  The point I'm trying to make is that even if you do believe it is a sin, why should a person be so insistent on that particular "law", while not enforcing another "law"?  Couldn't I just as readily argue under that line of thinking that I would be justified in condemning all that wear polyester, and even go so far as outlawing those with bad enough fashion sense to be wearing polyester in this day and age (actually, I have some stylish clothes that are polyester, so I'll retract that comment!).

The answer usually comes back that it is not a big enough law, that there aren't enough references to that law in the Bible, that the ritual purity codes were rendered unnecessary for salvation by Jesus.  Helpful for guidance, but unnecessary for salvation.

Whoa.  Well, if Jesus rendered the law as unnecessary – then isn't the implication that homosexuality must be purged a double standard?  Who gets to make that call?

I don't get it.  It seems to me like this very scripture is being ignored.  This probably isn't the best and most indicative passage for what I'm talking about.  For starters, I like Matt 7:12, Matt 22:36-40, Matt 23:22-24, Eph 2:13-16.

The message is clear to me.  Spending lots of time on "the law" just ain't what Jesus had in mind.  In fact, its exactly one of the sins that he criticized the existing Jewish establishment for.  It leads to division.  Jesus preached community.  Does it give us "carte blanche" to do whatever we want?  No.  We are all called in love to follow Christ, to walk in his footsteps.  But that doesn't include judgement of others.  We're expressly forbidden from that.

So I still don't get it.  I think the church as an institution has fallen into sin.  Taking her call to guide us into greater relationship with each other and with God, she has fallen into the sin of judgment and emphasis of law over faith.  I hope and pray that she regains her footing so that we can get back to the business of following Jesus.


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